Advisors: You Are Your Best Differentiator

Own your story and values to differentiate yourself and your business. 

It may feel impossible to differentiate yourself in today’s information saturated world. According to Cerulli there are over 311,000 financial advisors, 87,174 CFPs and more than 154,000 CFAs. Everyone provides investment management and/or financial planning. Advisors are largely trying to solve the same problems.    

So, what makes you and your firm unique? 

One differentiator that everyone has is themselves. Your story, your experiences and perspectives, is unique and (likely) informs what makes your business and approach different. At the least it is a way to find and connect with like-minded people.

People connect with people, not services. 

Services may be what clients are looking for but they engage with, and commit to, you and your team. If you don’t resonate or they don’t trust you, they won’t want your solutions, no matter how much they need them. 

Yet, many of us tone down our true selves, we clean up our stories and promote a watered-down version to the world. You are more than where you went to school, your past jobs and experience.  

How to refine your story? 

It starts by being honest and clear with yourself. If there was no judgement attached, what story would you tell?

This may sound easy but for many of us it’s not. It’s not easy to speak about the failures, doubts and struggles, yet these are the things that likely had the greatest impact on your life and business. 

Vulnerability and transparency when grounded in truth are powerful. One way to explore your story is to start with the journaling prompt, “The truth is…” and just start writing. When I was creating content for my website I used this technique and the following flowed out:

“While I never set out to be in financial services, what has kept me in this industry is the pace of change and the opportunity to positively impact people. I quickly learned that advisors and financial professionals deeply influence peoples' lives. Confidence, freedom, security, the ability to pursue big dreams are largely dependent on financial success and confidence.”    

Experiences from my life formed the understand and belief that “financial professionals deeply influence peoples’ lives.” What experiences have informed your truths? 

Think about your childhood and your upbringing. What have your learned from setbacks and failures? What about experiences of victory or adversity? 

When showing up in business tell your story, own your tone and let your values shine through. 

In a sea of sameness you set your business apart.

Related: What Does Great Service Mean to Your Advisory?